Survey: New Executives Receive Little or No Onboarding

Executives in the U.S. and Canada report lower rates of onboarding than other geographic areas.
By: | March 25, 2019 • 2 min read
onboarding

A new global study finds a majority of U.S. executives received no formal workplace onboarding in their most recent roles.

The survey by BlueSteps, the executive career service of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants, was based on a survey of more than 1,400 executives worldwide, including more than 300 in the U.S.

The survey also found executives in the U.S. were 35 percent less likely to receive formal onboarding compared to the global average. And when it comes to grading onboarding experiences on a scale of 1 to 100, executives in the U.S. rate theirs as mediocre with an average score of 59.

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Of those executives who did have a formal onboarding:

  • Less than one third (30 percent) of U.S. executives received guidelines on social media or corporate brand responsibility as part of their onboarding process; and
  • Only 42 percent of U.S. executives received any IT training or protocol as part of their onboarding process.

The study found a variance between those who receive a formal onboarding from their organization both by career level and by location: Those in the Middle East and Africa are most likely to go through one, with 58 percent of executive leaders surveyed in the region reporting they had a formal onboarding process at the start of their most current role.

“Those least likely to have a formal onboarding are those in the U.S. and Canada,” the study’s authors note, “with only thirty-six percent reporting they had a formal onboarding process.”

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By career level, the survey found, board directors are most likely to go through a formal onboarding process after starting a board role, with 59 percent of those responding that they were “onboarded.” Meanwhile, CEOs and presidents are the least likely to be onboarded, with only 43 percent saying they had a formal onboarding at the start of their last position.

Senior management-level professionals were also asked in the survey what they thought was important to include in an onboarding process, 20 percent of respondents would like information on the company’s goals and vision. Respondents also thought including information on how the organization functions is important, with 14 percent recommending an overview of internal processes and 10 percent recommending an overview of the corporate culture. IT training and an introductory meeting with other teams and offices were the fourth and fifth most common answers.

You can download the full report on the survey’s findings here.

Web Editor Michael J. O’Brien has been with HRE for more than a decade and holds a degree in economics from Boston College. He can be reached at [email protected]